Patriots owner Bob Kraft (2nd from left) is doubling-down on his assertion that no one on the team had any involvement in DeflateGate.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has told the media that he wants an apology from the NFL once (not if) his team is proven innocent of any wrong-doing in the DeflateGate controversy.
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At the team’s first meeting with the media on Monday, Kraft made a very bold statement by saying to reporters, “I believe unconditionally that the New England Patriots did nothing wrong in this process that was in violation of NFL rules.”
“If the (Ted) Wells investigation is not able to definitively determine that our organization tampered with the air pressure in the footballs, I would expect and hope the league would apologize to our entire team, and in particular to coach (Bill) Belichick and Tom Brady, for what they’ve had to endure this week,” Kraft added, according to the Boston Globe.
“I’m disappointed in the way this entire matter has been handled and reported upon. We expect hard facts rather than circumstantial leaked evidence to drive the conclusion of this investigation.”
But the preliminary reports from the investigation show that the Patriots did, in fact, use underinflated footballs in the first half of the AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts – 11 out of the 12 were found to be lacking air pressure, with several balls down as much as two pounds per square inch (PSI) from their NFL-mandated weight of 12.5 to 13.5 PSI – in other words, more than 15% lower than the minimum required levels of air pressure.
This is not the first time the Patriots have been caught violating league rules. In 2007 they were caught videotaping opposing teams’ hand signals in practices, which less to a $500,000 fine against head coach Bill Belichick and a $250,000 fine against the team.
The Patriots were also stripped of their 2008 first-round draft pick.
“I, and our entire organization, believe strongly in the integrity of the game and the rules of fair play are properly, equitably and fairly enforced,” Kraft concluded.